New Hibs manager: The backroom structure in place waiting for the new boss

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The new manager of Hibs will be met by a “high quality football structure” according to chief executive Leeann Dempster.

It was reported on Tuesday that negotiations with Michael Appleton had stalled and Paul Heckingbottom had re-emerged as the favourite for the vacant role following Neil Lennon’s departure last month.

When giving an update on the manager search last week Dempster was effusive in her praise of the structure currently in place at the club and noted that the chosen individual will have to fit into the “environment” built and cultivated since 2014.

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“The structure is the support for us at this minute. So when events come towards you, you have the benefit of great people, good structure being able to support you within the training centre, at Easter Road to help you get through periods of difficulty and opportunity. We’ve got some brilliant people working with us.”

Hibernian Chief Executive Leeann Dempster and the club's head of football operations George Craig. Picture: SNS/Ross ParkerHibernian Chief Executive Leeann Dempster and the club's head of football operations George Craig. Picture: SNS/Ross Parker
Hibernian Chief Executive Leeann Dempster and the club's head of football operations George Craig. Picture: SNS/Ross Parker

We look at some of the talented stuff working behind the scenes at Easter Road and East Mains:

George Craig, head of football operations

“He is a driving force behind the academy: the extra support for the players, helping them with their lifestyles,” said Dempster. “He makes sure that he’s pushing me every day, pushing me to try and get more support for the academy, to get more people working there and to make sure we give these young players every opportunity and we’re starting to see that.”

Craig, effectively the director of football, has played a crucial role at Easter Road during the club’s rebuild since 2014. He oversees all aspects of the footballing department, bringing the skilled individuals together to create a robust structure. His role takes a lot of pressure and strain away from the head coach, allowing that person to focus solely on the first team.

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• READ MORE: Hibs director of football George Craig gives insight into role

Eddie May, head of academy coaching

The reluctant interim manager, May is a former Hibs player having graduated from the academy before going on to make more than 100 appearances for the club. Following retirement, May moved into academy coaching with Falkirk who had one of the most revered player development pathways in Scotland. He would go on to have a short, unsuccessful spell as the Bairn’s manager. In 2014 he was recruited by Hibs as head of academy coaching. May oversees the development of all the club’s players – from under-8s through to the Development Squad.

Grant Murray, first team coach

A long career as a player in Scotland having started out at Hearts, Murray was Raith Rovers manager between 2012 and 2015, leading the Kirkcaldy side to Challenge Cup success over Rangers. He joined Hibs in 2015 to work with the youth players, he acts as first-team coach and has been interim assistant to Eddie May.

Alan Combe, goalkeeping coach

Another who had a fine playing career north and south of the border. Combe took his first steps in coaching at Hearts before a switch to Easter Road in 2014, first as player-coach. Since retiring in 2015 the Leither has fully focused on working with the goalkeepers at the club.

Graeme Mathie, head of recruitment

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A former scouting analyst at Celtic, Mathie leads the club’s recruitment team of scouts and analysts. With criteria coming from the manager, he helps identify ideal transfer targets from players who have been recommended or have interested the club. Detail is key to what Mathie and his team do, taking into account injury history, character references and minutes played. He then makes a decision whether any target should be scouted with the final say landing with the manager. He’s had a hand in bringing the likes of John McGinn, Dylan McGeouch and Stevie Mallan to the club.

Nathan Ring, head of football science & medicine

Ring has been with the club since September 2016 following roles with Shrewsbury Town and Brighton & Hove Albion. He has previously worked at the Olympics and combines his role at Hibs with England U21s where he is a consultant physiotherapist. He evaluates and monitors players’ injuries while looking to improve athlete performance, health and well being.

Paul Green, strength & conditioning coach

An experienced operator having worked in sports rehabilitation for more than 17 years and spent four years at Falkirk as a strength and conditioning coach. Green joined Hibs in 2014 and in his role he works with players in the gym, devising specific programmes for individuals and the team as a collective. His work will look to improve strength, power, speed and agility among other useful physical attributes.

Colin Clancy, sports scientist

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A former junior player, Clancy arrived at Hibs after spells at Hamilton and Middlesbrough. His role is to optimise performance in both training and competitive matches, while keeping track of each player’s physical exertion so as to prevent injury. While at Hamilton, ex-Hearts striker Christian Nade said of Clancy: “He’s a murderer! He’s one of the best I have worked with. He makes you work really, really hard and smiles, so you cannot even be angry at him. You just have to try to please him, and when you see the results you are happy and want more and more.”

Calvin Charlton, head of performance analysis

After an unpaid spell at Portsmouth and a year with Premier League side Southampton, Charlton brought his expertise to Easter Road. He splits his role into three sections. Pre-match, preparations revolve around watching the opposition four or five times, detailing everything from set piece routine to how they score to patterns of play. During the game Charlton is compiling information to feed to the manager at half-time, while after the game it is about providing clips and footage for players to review their performance.

John Marchant, sports psychologist

Another of the backroom staff with specific skills designed to help players, whether in the first team or academy, gain that extra edge. Sean Mackie has attributed his sessions with Marchant to his improvement: “I did used to beat myself up if I made a mistake and it would impact the rest of my game. But I’ve spoken to John, the psychologist, and I feel like I’ve been doing well with him. I see him every week. It makes you think and realise that you will make mistakes. No-one is perfect.”

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